Developer: Membraine Studios Pty Ltd
Price: free Download on the App Store
Orbital Defence is a retro-arcade shooter with elements of Missile Command, Galaga, Moon Patrol and other space-defense style games popularized by Atari, Namco and Sega soon after the dawn of video gaming.
What's unique about membraine studios' game compared to the old timers is that it takes advantage of the iPhone and iPod touch's advanced tech-innards, while also using the touchscreen to enable you to finger flick missiles at incoming asteroids, spacecraft and assorted cybercritters.
Orbital Defense also integrates with Facebook so you can connect with fans who have enough time on their minds to follow you while you go on about your “flicks-'em-up” business. That's sorta how Orbital Defence's developer describes it, anyway.
If you're afraid that impressing your friends on Facebook with your Orbital Defence skills makes you look like a dork (trust me, it does), there's always opportunity to put your name on a worldwide leader board if you get good enough.
There's a distinct “been there; done that” feel to Orbital Defence and for people like me who fondly recall punching quarters into the front slot of arcade machines back in the day, that's not necessarily a bad thing. For everyone else, I suspect they'll find it to be a bit of a snooze because it's so easy to play and simple-minded (like many casual games).
Orbital Defence's game play is smooth and the graphics are crisp. It's just not that well done compared to say, Namco Networks America's Galaga REMIX for the iPhone and iPod touch ($2.99).
membraine studios' game has two modes: Campaign and Survival, which virtually every gamer is familiar with. Clear levels and move on to more durable enemies or shoot-em until to you die. You have three difficulty levels ranging from casual to hardcore, which as I alluded to, isn't really all that hard.
One of your options is to adjust shot sensitivity, using a slider. I think that's a useful feature. Orbital Defence also has a tutorial mode, although I doubt many will need it.
You pick up points not only for each bad guy or thing you blast, but also for your level of accuracy. Your best bet is to pick off objects one at a time rather than madly flicking your finger to carpet bomb (whatever) the evil doers.
So yeah, I have mixed feelings about Orbital Defence. On one hand, it really doesn't offer anything new; but on the other hand, it's engaging when you're looking to kill time with spacecrafts and space creatures.